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Breedplan: weighing and scanning

heifers (the effects of pregnancy)

February 2002
AG0983
ISSN 1329-8062

Brian Sundstrom, NSW Agriculture


This Agriculture Note outlines how to use 400 and 600day weight EBVs as valuable breeding information.

Weight EBVs
400 and 600-day weight EBVs (Estimated Breeding
Values) are important components of BREEDPLAN.
Often good lines of like-treated heifers, can be weighed
around one or more of these ages and therefore provide
valuable information.
BREEDPLAN is often asked as to the effect of pregnancy
on these weights. 400-day weights, would rarely be
affected, it is the 600-day weight which is in question.
The first trimester (1/3) of pregnancy has relatively little
effect on the heifer's weight. Beyond that it starts to
become significant, particularly in the final trimester (1/3)
of pregnancy, as be seen from table 1.
Table 1. Additional weight gain due to pregnancy
(kilograms)

Bos
(39 kg calf)
Bos indicus
(29 kg calf)

Month of pregnancy
5
6
7
8

10

14

20

29

43

65

10

15

23

35

51

weights are acceptable up to 5 to 6 months pregnant, as


they will be at similar stages of pregnancy. Any slight bias
will be in favour of early conceiving heifers.
600-day weights
600-day weights can of course be taken any time after 500
days. So if, for example, a breeder wished to submit '600day weights' on heifers joined at 15 months (450 days) it
would be preferable to take the weight when they are about
3 months pregnant i.e. 18 months (around 550 days), rather
then going closer to the 600-days.
Other weights
As for all other weights, pick a time that suits management
and while the heifers are in as large groups as possible e.g.
Take a weight before splitting into separate joining groups.

Scanning
Valuable information can be gained by scanning heifers to
allow better evaluation of their sires and relatives. This is
particularly for Intra Muscular Fat scanning which displays
more in heifers.
Research at the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit
(AGBU) has shown there is little or no effect of pregnancy
on the scanning traits. Heifers can therefore be scanned up
to 6 months pregnant, or as management dictates.

Weights from heifers more than 3-4 months


pregnant
As a general rule therefore, weights from heifers more than
3 or 4 months pregnant should not be submitted to
BREEDPLAN. An exception to this would be for
synchronised matings or short joinings, where only
pregnancy tested heifers have been retained. If so, their

This publication may be of assistance to you but the State of Victoria and its officers do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any
kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may
arise from you relying on any information in this publication.

State of Victoria, Department of Primary Industries

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